When Jesus isn’t enough

{by Kristen from We are THAT Family}

When I sat in his closet-sized home in the middle of Africa, I couldn’t take my eyes off the pathetic interior or ignore the dripping rain on my head.

I tried not to imagine the “community toilet” he shared with neighbors adjoined by paper-thin walls or how far he walked each way to school everyday, in the dark, both ways.

The peace on his face was undeniable and the light that radiated from his eyes filled the dark room of his orphan-led home.

I didn’t understand how he could be so content with so little. And I couldn’t stop the question, “Why are you so happy? Why aren’t you afraid?”

He looked at me as if I’d missed it entirely and said, “Because I have Jesus.”

He didn’t say anything else. It was a heavy statement. It was enough.

He was right, I had missed it. Entirely.

I equate Jesus to comfort and blessings. And when I sat in a hovel, a young boy called home, void of every comfort, I was envious of his contentment.

I returned to a lifestyle with every blessing, only wanting more.

I add Jesus like salt and pepper to a tasteless dish.

He isn’t the main course, just an extra on the side.

Jesus isn’t enough for me.

I think about my happiness that is clouded with every storm that blows into my life. I think about my happiness that is contingent upon what I have versus what I want. I think about my happiness and the strings I attach to it.

I think about a young boy who taught me more about Jesus and myself in a single sentence than my entire Bible College degree and 37 years of living.

One of the great lessons I learned in Africa: When Jesus isn’t enough, something is wrong.

I’m on a quest to make it all about Jesus. It’s easy surrounded by the comforts of my American life to melt back into the The American Way-bigger is better, more is what matters.

This is a painful journey, but more than anything, I want Him to be enough for me.

Is Jesus enough for you? If your happiness, like mine, is determined by how much or how little you have or the next exciting thing in your life, can I gently remind you to return to Him? He is waiting to be enough.

Kristen writes with depth and humor at We are THAT Family and has recently co-founded The Mercy House.
Subscribe to her blog or Facebook.
Follow her on Twitter @WeareTHATFamily.

Featured by Story Editor, Robin Dance.

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32 Comments to “When Jesus isn’t enough”

  1. LaTonya says:

    Wow, you left me with a lot to think about! I too want him to be enough!

  2. HisFireFly says:

    Oh this so reminds me of how I felt and what I wrote when I visited Uganda –

    “When God is all there is then God is enough. If anything else is placed above Him, then nothing is enough. He is, as He says in His Word, a jealous God, and He will have no other gods before Him.”

    Here is the rest of that post – http://hisfirefly.blogspot.com/2008/02/other-evening-shapes-in-clouds-looked.html

    There is something about how the African people live faith out loud!
    HisFireFly recently posted..Running from and falling into – Joy

  3. Anne says:

    WOW…. how true that is… The statment about how He should be our Main Course but we use Him as Salt & Peper is sooooooo true. What a true picture. Thanks for so much food for thought and straight to the point.
    Anne recently posted..The Hi-Tech Family

  4. Robin Dance says:

    A @Storybleed post that hurts to read, b/c she hurt to write it. Challenging and beautiful: http://bit.ly/g0xSbC by @WeareTHATfamily

  5. RT @PensieveRobin: A @Storybleed post that hurts to read, b/c she hurt to write it. Challenging and beautiful: http://bit.ly/g0xSbC by @ …

  6. Anne says:

    A straight to the heart post @Storybleed by @WeareTHATfamily http://bit.ly/g0xSbC

  7. Patti says:

    Powerful post from @WeareTHATfamily "…lesson I learned in Africa: When Jesus isn’t enough, something is wrong" http://bit.ly/dJ303l

  8. Audra B says:

    Is Jesus enough for you? This story rocked me to my core http://ow.ly/3Hy3R Thank you, Kristen @wearethatfamily

  9. The concepts of ‘enough’ and ‘more’ are so relative, and I do think we have it ‘harder’ in a first world, full-of-comforts country. But as you said, that doesn’t mean we’re not accountable.
    Amy @ Never-True Tales recently posted..Embrace

  10. I love this post so much. He is totally enough, but we often act as though we need to also bring something to the table to complete things. The sad part is, we have nothing to offer. That’s why we needed Him in the first place. We think our efforts, our abilities, our acts of service are going to combine to make something even better (i.e. Jesus + my efforts) when really all we need is Him. Nothing more. nothing.

  11. My family has never been well off but we’ve always been happy, we’ve never coveted all the material possessions that others find so important, but we always have plenty of everything we need. We couldn’t be happier, and I truly believe it’s the total trust in God and Jesus that bring us so many more blessings of happiness than all our neighbours combined.

  12. Jen says:

    I’m so glad for you that you had that revelation…but I have to ask, then what?
    So many people do and then go back and there is very little change. (For us all) it must be the starting point to a life of true submission and real living as a christian, not some fuzzy memory left in Africa.

  13. Amanda says:

    Powerful… touching… inspirational. Love this.
    Amanda recently posted..St Patricks Day Cake

  14. [...] stumbled across this article this morning @ storybleed and it resonated deeply for me. In my comfortable western world, even though I love him, is He [...]

  15. Kevin Leland says:

    I add Jesus like salt and pepper to a tasteless dish.

    He isn’t the main course, just an extra on the side.

    What a convicting statement. God Bless you!

  16. April Ann says:

    Sometimes the greatest statements filled with wisdom have the fewest words. There isn’t need for more… only to see and hear it.

  17. daisy says:

    This hit me right where I needed it. Thank you so much!

  18. Pablo says:

    This was really touching… We know that Jesus is our only motive to all the things that we do and all the things that we go through, but living that up is a whole other thing! May God keep blessing you with these teachings, incredible teachings He always delivers to us. Take care!

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  26. Camille Lawson says:

    Wow, you left me with a lot to think about! My family has never been well off but we’ve always been happy, we’ve never coveted all the material possessions that others find so important, but we always have plenty of everything we need. There isn’t need for more… only to see and hear it.
    Camille Lawson recently posted..Acne Tips

  27. Susan Gaddis says:

    When Jesus isn’t enough | Story Bleed Magazine http://t.co/nSs2WKrP #buildalegacy

  28. Eric Vancil says:

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  29. @lucypoppleton http://t.co/SHAJsQ9I
    Thought you might like this. Dad x

  30. Upendar
    Twitter:
    says:

    Excellent advice, and sohiemtng that I keep saying to some of the people in a writers’ group I meet with.And, Col, I got the boot from my school spelling bee in the fourth grade for goofing up ‘against.’ First kid out. I have never messed up that word again.

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